Restorative Justice Practices

Background
Common RJ Practices

Hands

The Tow Youth Justice Institute (TYJI) has established an initiative to advance Restorative Justice Practices (RJP) in youth justice reform in CT. This community-based approach is an essential framework for supporting youth development and offering guidance for adults, youth and families in a model proven effective to resolve conflicts and restore relationships. TYJI collaborates with CT stakeholders to bring training, technical assistance, conferences, programming and events to support the implementation of RJP along the continuum of youth services. Applications of RJP are successfully improving school climate and discipline, addressing behavioral health needs and social-emotional connections, as well as meeting the treatment needs of youth in juvenile justice systems of community supervision, delinquency commitment, and re-entry.

Like many other states including California, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, Pennsylvania and New York, Connecticut is implementing Restorative Justice Practices in schools, communities, and the juvenile justice system. With growing interest, the state moves closer to the development and implementation of a Restorative Justice framework across the continuum of youth services to align with strategic goals of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee to reduce recidivism and incarceration rates and increase diversion efforts as part of youth justice reform.

Schools, faced with rising suspension and expulsion rates and school-based arrests, especially for youth of color, are moving away from failed zero tolerance discipline and practices of the 1990’s and early 2000’s toward a more restorative approach to stem the flow of youth into the justice system, which often results in academic failure. Stakeholders and decision-makers in CT are exploring and implementing Restorative Justice Practices as part of school-based diversion, community-based diversion (both pre- and post-arrest) as well as in congregate care for committed delinquents.